Sempra Tries For a 'Hail Mary' to Keep Jury From Hearing State Antitrust Suit

On June 22, 2005, Sempra Energy and its utility subsidiaries, Southern California Gas Company and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (collectively "Sempra"), petitioned FERC for an order declaring that the claims made in an antitrust lawsuit pending in state court in San Diego impermissibly intrude upon FERC's jurisdiction. A FERC decision due on the petition is anticipated on the eve of trial and as a consequence may undercut the claims in the massive litigation stemming from the western power crisis of 2000-2001. The litigation under California state antitrust and unfair competition laws...

Ohio Governor Statements Harbinger Possible Electric Industry Re-regulation

Storms of re-regulation in the Buckeye state appear to be building as Ohio Governor Bob Taft (R) hinted in a speech delivered at the NAE Regional Conference held on June 3 in Cleveland that unless competition in the electric industry registers a pulse, re-regulation could be in the state's future. De-regulation in Ohio began in 1999 when S.B. 3, the Electric Restructuring Bill was passed providing customer choice effective January 1, 2001. The results of de-regulation have been mixed; local government aggregation programs, primarily in Northern Ohio where FirstEnergy operates, have won some...

Environmental Study Proposes Increased Wind Energy Development on Public Lands

Wind energy developers may obtain greater access to many promising wind energy sites on federal lands in the Western U.S. based on the proposals of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management ("BLM"). BLM has released a final programmatic environmental impact statement ("EIS") addressing the environmental, social and economic impacts associated with developing wind energy on public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Cumulatively, these western states have great wind power potential. The EIS...

FERC Investigates Oklahoma Gas & Electric for Market Power; Oklahoma Regulator Proposes Competitive Bidding

Both Oklahoma state regulators and FERC recently indicated that changes in the way Oklahoma utilities get power be in order. At a June 6 hearing, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ("OCC") directed its staff to put together a notice of proposed rulemaking ("NOPR"), which would direct the state's utilities to procure power through a competitive bidding process, and convene a prudence review of the 2003 costs of the state's two largest electric utilities, Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. ("OG&E") and American Electric Power-Public Service Co. of Oklahoma ("PSO"). The NOPR would explore a...

Wind Interconnection Standards Final

In June FERC took further steps to aid wind energy development. It finalized technical specifications in a new rule for interconnecting wind energy generators to the transmission grid. The new specifications supplement FERC's earlier creation of a standard interconnection agreement and standard procedures for generator interconnections, which jurisdictional transmission providers must follow. Because of the unique operating characteristics of wind energy generators, FERC exempted wind energy interconnections from certain requirements of the interconnection rule. T he new rule is intended to...

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